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North Carolina could be the eleventh state in the country to legalize marijuana. A bill has been introduced that would allow North Carolinians to possess up to four ounces of marijuana with no legal consequences. It would also allow each county to make their own decision on whether or not to legalize the drug.

If the bill is passed into law, North Carolina may need to address an additional issue that legalized marijuana has presented in the other 10 states and that is the impact legalized pot has on the number of DUI car crashes that occur. Although legalizing pot decreases the number of minor drug arrests that occur and contributes to states’ tax revenues, statistics show that there is a marked increase in the number of DUI accidents that occur.




According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of car accident claims increase more than five percent in states that have legalized marijuana. Researchers compared numbers between states that had passed legislation compared to states that had voted down the legalization of marijuana. Another study found that car accidents reported to police also increased by more than five percent in those same states.

When many of us think of driving under the influence issues, we think of drivers being under the influence of alcohol, but the truth is that many of those drivers are under the influence of drugs, both legal and illegal. But unlike the ability to test drivers they suspect are under the influence of alcohol, there is no concise method to for law enforcement to test a driver they suspect is under the influence of marijuana. The active component of marijuana that causes the user to become high is THC. The levels of THC in a user’s blood can drop up to 70 percent within an hour after using. This leaves police struggling with being able to accurately test a driver for marijuana in their system.

Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney

Whether or not the state passes this bill to legalize marijuana, it will still be a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to criminal charges, an impaired driver who causes an accident may also be responsible for punitive damages for any victims who were injured in the crash or to the families of anyone killed in the crash.

Punitive damages are punishment for the driver for their reckless behavior. Injured victims or anyone who has lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a drugged driver should contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal options they may have.

At Shapiro & Appleton, we have been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.


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